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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Response to MoFA’s statement

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The 15th Executive Council of the School of Business and Public Administration of the University of The Gambia, under the leadership of Ebrima L Dampha, wishes to extend its heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the relentless services they are rendering to The Gambia and her people.
However, with reference to the press release from The Gambian embassy to Dakar through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 6th August, 2018, the Executive members of the said association hereby write to express dismay and utter disappointment in the said release and debunk some of their claims. It is indeed unfortunate to learn that the release has put the integrity of the University at stake, and thus the need for clarification.

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Firstly, the release clearly states “…the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that on the 8th June 2018, the Embassy of the Republic of The Gambia received an email from one Ebrima L Dampha, who claims to be the president of the School of Business and Public Administration of the University of the Gambia, requesting the Embassy to provide accommodation for 60 Gambian students in Dakar.”
From the above statement, it should be clear that our first email wasn’t sent on the 8th of June, as per the press release, but instead on the 31st of May. On the said date, we wrote to ask for their advice , guidance and counselling as the embassy responsible to represent the Gambia, which they chose to ignore for whatever reasons, until we had to lobby for help from a friend who knows someone from the embassy, who advised that if we write again, she would do the follow up. Then we wrote the second letter which happened to be on the 8th of July, and not the 8th of June as their release stated.

On the third paragraph of the press release, it is stated, “ On the 9th June 2018, the Ambassador of the Gambia to the republic of Senegal, His Excellency Ousmane Ndure, convened a meeting with staff of the embassy to discuss the email and agreed that the Embassy should look for some hotels in Dakar as requested by Mr. Dampha. On the 10th June 2018, the embassy replied to Mr. Dampha’s email conveying that the piscine Olympique De Dakar was identified for possible accommodation of 60 students but unfortunately they wanted free accommodation which the embassy cannot afford due to limited resources.”
From the above, we want to make it crystal clear that we never requested for free accommodation from the embassy. We also never said hotel, but motel. What we requested was for the identification of an affordable accommodation. We see no reason why the embassy should confuse the identification of affordable accommodation and provision of free accommodation for 60 students. This we think is utterly unfair. In fact, for the purpose of clarity, the embassy never replied on the 10th June, as they claim, but instead, 10th of July. There is a difference!
Moreover, in one of the emails sent, we stated that we were to send our advance team to have a direct surveyof the places we intended to visit, and then we solicited for them to host the two-man advance team for the period of two days. They never did, and we never blamed them for it.
The press release further stated that we went on to circulate an unfounded article. The article released by the Secretary General of the association is based on experience and not anything defamatory. This said article is suggesting that expatriates need to serve the needs of the ordinary citizens, otherwise there is no point having them at all.

The 15th Executive Council of Economics and Management Students’ Association of the University of the Gambia wants to register its utmost disappointment in the press release, which is full of unfounded accusations, and is with the opinion that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through which the press was released should have at least heard from the other side with regards to the contents of the report from the embassy. This would have given the Ministry the opportunity to strike a balance on the issue.
Notwithstanding, we would like to bring it to your notice that we are currently camped in Senegal for a research purpose on the theme: The socio-economic relationship and currency impact on the rebirth of Senegambia. On our return to The Gambia, we would make more clarifications on the issue when and where necessary.

On the same vain, the 15th executive Council, wants to use this opportunity to caution all students of the university of the Gambia, particularly the students of Business and Public Administration to remain calm and refrain from all sorts of improper conducts. We are duly elected to preside over your affairs, and by God’s grace we shall never relent or deviate from such a course.

Office of the Secretary General Ecomansa 15th executive council

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